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Lady Bears bounce back, rout Jenkins

Back home after their second loss of the season on Saturday to Elizabethtown, the state’s fourth-ranked team, the Harlan County Lady Bears worked out a few kinks and had a good time doing it in rolling past Jenkins 85-46 on Monday.

“It was good to play and work on some things we want to work on, like effort and hustle,” Harlan County coach Debbie Greensaid. “We want to take it one game at a time and get some people some experience and confidence.”

The Lady Bears struggled early with turnovers caused by the familiar problem of lazy, cross court passes as Jenkins took the lead five times in the opening period before the HCHS took control.

“We have to be ready to play every night, no matter who we’re playing,” Green said. “We have to have effort and energy every night. They are all working hard, but they have to stay focused.”

Harlan County forced eight turnovers in each of the first two quarters and used a 13-2 run late in the opening period and a 23-4 run to close the half in a building a 25-point lead at the break.

“Transition has killed us all year,” Jenkins coach Wesley Bryant said. “We handle the press pretty well for three quarters, but then out of nowhere we turn it over six or seven times. Our problem is we have no bench depth (only seven players), so I can’t really correct mistakes during the game, plus we start two freshmen and an eighth-grader.”

“It’s contagious for us once we get going,” Green said. “When we hit some shots and get some good passes we start playing better. Our defense leads our offense. That’s the key for us. We’re still a work in progress right now.”

Senior guard Blair Green was on the finishing end of numerous transition buckets as she scored 28 of her 32 points in the first half before sitting out most of the second. Junior guard Phebe McHargue added 13 points as the Lady Bears improved to 11-2.

Tobulayefa Watts, a 6-foot-2 senior center who is expected to play at Eastern Kentucky University next year, caused the Lady Bears problems inside in a 20-point, nine-rebound effort.

“She is one of the better bigs we’ll,” Green said.

Freshman guards Kristin Thacker and Jerrica Thacker added 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the 6-11 Lady Cavaliers.

Green had nine of the Lady Bears’ baskets in the first quarter as HCHS pulled away late in the period to build a 26-17 lead.

Led by four baskets from Green and three by McHargue, Harlan County took control in the second period. A putback by Morgan Napier followed by a 3-pointer from Kelly Beth Hoskins and two free throws by Shelby McDaniel pushed the HCHS advantage to 49-24 at the break.

Green had three baskets in the third quarter while McDaniel and McHargue added two each as the Lady Bears continued to build on their lead. A 3-pointer by Reanna Middleton started a running clock in the final minute of the period before baskets by Wood and McDaniel made the score 73-32 going into the final period.

Wood, a sophomore, hit a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as Harlan County led by as many as 44 points.

Harlan County returns to action Thursday at home against Lee, Va.

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Sophomore guard Hannah Wood scored 24 points as Harlan County improved to 4-0 in junior varsity action with a 65-42 victory.

Morgan Blakley added 11 for the Lady Bears, followed by Kelly Beth Hoskins and Jacey Lewis with eight each, Dixie Ewing with six, Hannah Johnson and Abby Vitatoe with three each and Kassy Owens with two.

Kristin Thacker scored 18 points and Jerrica Thacker added 13 for the Lady Cavaliers. Charlee Hale contributed nine points. Lindsey Rose scored two.

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Harlan County 85, Jenkins 46

JENKINS (6-11)

Jerrica Thacker 4-17 0-0 10, Morgan Henson 0-1 0-0 0, Kristin Thacker 4-10 2-4 12, Lindsey Rose 2-4 0-0 4, Tobulayefa Watts 9-21 2-5 20, Rainey Ratliff 0-1 0-0 0, Charlee Hale 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-54 4-9 46.

HARLAN COUNTY (11-2)

Phebe McHargue 6-13 0-0 13, K.K. Johnson 1-4 2-2 5, Blair Green 16-21 0-1 32, Lainey Cox 1-2 0-0 2, Breann Turner 1-3 2-2 4, Morgan Napier 2-4 3-4 7, Shelby McDaniel 2-6 2-2 6, Hannah Wood 3-6 0-0 8, Morgan Blakley 1-6 0-0 2, Reanna Middleton 1-3 0-0 3, Kelly Beth Hoskins 1-2 0-0 3. Totals: 35-70 9-11 85.

Jenkins 17 7 8 14 — 46

Harlan County 26 23 24 12 — 85

3-point goals: Jenkins 4-17 (K. Thacker 2-6, J. Thacker 2-10, Ratliff 0-1), Harlan County 6-16 (Wood 2-3, R. Middleton 1-2, Hoskins 1-2, Johnson 1-3, McHargue 1-5, McDaniel 0-1). Rebounds: Jenkins 22 (Watts 9, J. Thacker 5, Rose 5, K. Thacker 2, Henson 1), Harlan County 41 (Cox 8, Napier 8, Green 6, Johnson 4, Turner 4, McDaniel 4, Hoskins 4, Wood 2, Blakley 1). Turnovers: Jenkins 23, Harlan County 11. Fouled out: None.